Lincoln and the Civil War

Nestled along the Mighty Mississippi in Great Rivers Country, Quincy was a frequent stop for Lincoln, and he counted some of its residents among his closest friends.

In Illinois' amazing Great Rivers Country, Quincy is a historical gem that is full of Lincoln history. The sixth Senatorial debate between Lincoln and Douglas was hosted in Quincy in 1858.

Day 1: Quincy

Morning 

Nestled along the Mighty Mississippi in Great Rivers Country, Quincy was a frequent stop for Lincoln, and he counted some of its residents among his closest friends. As you explore, a great first stop is The History Museum for an interesting overview of the history surrounding the area and its Lincoln connections, as well as Quincy’s status as the “City of Refuge” for early Mormons on their trek West. The Museum is located in a beautiful stone building that served as Quincy’s original public library. 

 Across the street, visit the Lincoln-Douglas Debate Memorial in Washington Park by famed sculptor Laredo Taft. Imagine yourself standing amongst thousands of people who had traveled by foot, horse and wagon to listen to Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debate the major issues of the day facing Illinois and the nation. 

For an even greater understanding of the significance of the Debate and the key players, as well as influential friends from in and around Quincy, including both supporters of Lincoln and of Douglas, stop by the Lincoln-Douglas Debate Interpretive Center – located just beyond the Debate site. 

Afternoon

Afternoon After a nice lunch and a walk around the town square, head over to the John Wood Mansion – the beautifully restored Greek Revival home of Quincy’s founder and 12th Governor of Illinois – John Wood. In the Carriage House next door, don’t miss the Lincoln Gallery Collection – featuring original artifacts surrounding Lincoln’s life – and his assassination. 

The Dr. Richard Eells House is a definite “must see” as you discover Lincoln & The Civil War. The 1835 home was a stop for runaway slaves as they made their way North to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Quincy was the first “station stop” for these fugitives as they crossed the border from Missouri a slave state. 

For more Civil War stories, plan to visit the All Wars Museum featuring over 5,000 military artifacts beginning with the Revolutionary War all the way to today including many from the Civil War. 

Day 2: Pittsfield/Nauvoo

Morning 

A brisk morning walk through the downtown will take you on the Lincoln Story Trail with over 18 Looking for Lincoln Wayside Exhibits telling the many stories about the people and the places here that were such an important part of the Abraham Lincoln legacy. 

Afternoon

This is the perfect time to look for Lincoln in nearby areas of the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area. 

Just a short drive from Quincy is the charming town of Nauvoo, Illinois. Here, along the banks of the Mississippi, you can step back in time in Historic Nauvoo, to experience the lives of the early members of the Mormon church who settled her in 1839. The village of Old Nauvoo sets the stage for prairie life from 1839 -1846 through over 30 historic attractions and year-round living history interpretation.

Or, take a drive to Pittsfield, Illinois for the Lincoln Talking House Tour an audio driving tour telling that stories of 14 buildings whose early owners played significant roles in the life and times of Lincoln. Many of the buildings are still homes occupied by modern residents of Pittsfield

For more on the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area, visit Looking for Lincoln.

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